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Is Bed Rotting the New Relaxation? Or the New Laziness?

Needing a bit of relaxing? Maybe bed rotting is for you! But what is that and why are we giving it such a negative name?

Illustration by Jaiden Malone

I’m sure that at this stage we’ve all seen “bed rotting” during our online scrolling.

This new trend taking social media by storm is centered around staying in bed and doing low-effort activities. Low-effort activities can be done while staying completely comfy, such as reading, watching a show or a movie or maybe playing a video game!

But why would we choose “bed rotting” when it sounds like such a negative thing?

What actually is bed rotting?

Like many new terms nowadays, “bed rotting” was first seen online. It gives us time to ourselves, to do whatever we want outside of our busy day-to-day lives. Hobbies are super important!

The term “rotting” itself gives the phrase a negative connotation. This could be due to our newfound hustle culture where there is a mindset that if you have time to rest you really are wasting time that could be spent working and making money.

In reality, what is the difference between bed rotting and a lazy morning or a pajama day? Is it just a new name? Much like a pajama day, bed rotting involves passive activities such as watching shows or movies, reading, playing a video game or maybe even simply going on your phone.

In passive activities, we consume media, rather than actually creating something and as a result they don’t have a tangible outcome. These activities need little to no mental energy. For example, when it comes to a movie all you have to do is turn it on and get comfortable.

Feet with slippers and coffee table with mug and sign that says day off.
Days off are a great way to relax. Credit: Shutterstock/Pixel-Shot

Structured-unstructured time

When I have a busy or perhaps hectic day coming up I like to schedule some time to myself. This can be in between activities or even at the end of the day.

I think that it’s important to have time to ‘reset’ my mind. If I’m constantly moving, doing and thinking throughout the day I find it hard to settle down and go to bed without an intermediate. So what I have is time to simply ‘sit’, a period of time I’ve set aside in which I have absolutely nothing to do. This makes it ‘structured-unstructured time’.

The activities I was doing were bed rotting activities. However, I didn’t start doing this because of the new trend. This shows that maybe this trend is just another way of describing relaxing and the new term has shown the never-ending effect of the internet. We see this more than we think, where there’s a new ‘trend’ that’s really something that already exists.

Is there such a thing as too much?

Like anything else, it is possible to have too much of a thing no matter how good it seems. As I previously mentioned, “rotting” has a negative connotation.

So why did we, social media users, choose this term?

It could be down to an act of rebellion. To give the trend a negative-sounding name may paint it as more of a guilty pleasure. With many people working from home it becomes much easier to be constantly ‘on’ and contactable, so to stay in bed feels like a more intentional attempt to relax than staying out of the office.

While I like the sound of working from home, you have to physically take yourself away from your laptop in order to relax properly.

Woman at home working on laptop
Credit: Shutterstock/Dima Berlin

But this can very easily become excessive. Feeling comfortable, relaxed and well-rested is a great feeling but can quickly snowball to always staying in bed.

That’s why I emphasize finding your own structured-unstructured time. If I ever have a period of time, such as the summer holidays, where I’m constantly staying up late and sleeping in, I can end up feeling even more tired despite all of the extra sleep. This is why active activities are as important as passive ones. Going for walks, seeing friends and setting aside time for your hobbies are just as important.

Finding a balance

How easy it is to find a balance can be surprising. The most important thing, that I find, is making sure that you are strict with yourself. You’ve got to make sure that you don’t turn to your to-do list when you put aside time off for yourself. This of course goes both ways! Don’t give up on those to-do lists. I always find that the best type of relaxing is when I don’t have anything hanging over me.

Though this isn’t always possible, during my college exams I made sure to pencil in some relaxing time even though I knew I’d have to study after. Rather than completely replacing that relaxing time with study, and then just studying my day away, I chose to relish the time that I gave myself with the comfort of knowing that I would lock in and study after.

Girl with headphones studying in a library
Credit: Shutterstock/Balance Form Creative

Having that time allowed me to truly focus on the work I had to do. I knew that work wasn’t consuming me and as a result, I was less tempted to close my laptop and open my phone. By having that bit of ‘bed rotting time’ I was able to focus more.

The importance of relaxing

We all know that relaxing is incredibly important. It takes different forms for many people. Time alone may work for some, but being surrounded by people may work for others.

It’s all about finding what works for you. Bed rotting prioritises time for you. With balance being the key, it can allow you to feel more energised when it comes to actually completing your tasks rather than having a day filled with job after job.

Different forms of relaxation are important. I love to see my friends, family and loved ones. It feels great to be surrounded by those I care about. Although sometimes, after spending a day like this I may need to decompress. This is where bed rotting truly comes in handy for me. It allows me to relax my brain and slowly switch off.

Finding time for yourself is not lazy. We work to live, not live to work. Sometimes hustle culture can tell us that sitting around is a waste of time, but really it’s important for our minds. Looking after ourselves and self-care are important!

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